Gearing up for a beloved parade.
The Norwegian-American May 17th Parade Committee held its annual fundraiser at Salty Dog, 7509 Third Avenue, on Sunday, April 7.
Along with helping raise money for the 65th annual 17th of May Parade, the day was also meant to spread cheer, fun and even some history lessons about the occasion, including the independence and freedom that the 17th of May, Constitution Day in Norway, represents.
According to Arlene Rutuelo, co-chair of the parade committee, the day was yet another success. “We thought it was fantastic,” she said. “Each year, we get more and more people. Our goal is to drum up interest for the community to learn about the parade and just get excited about it. We’ve been doing this about five years now.”
Thanks to generous donations from attendees, prep for the parade is well on its way. “We raised about $5,000 for the parade which is a big help. Everything that we raised at the Salty Dog, 100 percent goes to the parade,” Rutuelo said. “We try to make it a fun afternoon and we wait until after Saint Patrick’s Day and try to do it as a drum roll for the neighborhood to know that the Vikings are coming back, so we’re excited about it. We’re ready and geared up for the parade.”
The event was well attended, as people from outside the tri-state area made the trek to celebrate. “People came from all over the place for the fundraiser and they came from near and far which is pretty awesome,” she added. “There were people from the Bronx, Jersey, Pennsylvania. There were a lot of people there that weren’t from Bay Ridge.”
The committee had about 20 raffles along with a 50/50. “There was plenty of food,” she added. “Salty Dog is so generous to donate the location for us. They give us food and we complement it with our own traditional foods also.”
“I think it was a great turnout,” added Scandinavian East Coast Museum President Victoria Hofmo. “People were very happy. It was just very nice. We are all grateful for Salty Dog for giving us the space. We raised a lot of money.”
The fundraiser is just the beginning. The 62nd Annual Miss Norway Contest of Greater New York will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m. at the Norwegian Christian Home & Health Center, 1250 67th Street. Five judges will determine the winner, who will receive a round trip airline ticket to Norway.
In addition, “The Viking Fest is coming up the day before the parade,” noted Rutuelo, “and we are trying to build up the weekend and the weeks leading up to it so we’re trying to create different events to highlight Norwegian culture and educate the community.”
This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.may17paradeny.com.